Admiral Leadership Academy’s student-led peer support group, Lunch Bunch, provides Danville High School students with a safe and supportive space to form connections, friendships and support networks with fellow students.
Lunch Bunch takes place each Thursday during all three of DHS’s lunch periods in the Beacon Youth Service Center room.
At Monday’s board of education meeting, student Miles Henson gave a presentation on Admiral Leadership Academy’s formation of Lunch Bunch, its progress so far, and ongoing goals.
Henson said Admiral Leadership Academy has been using curriculum through Lead4Change, a student leadership program. Lead4Change challenged student leadership organizations to complete a major project to serve the community. Admiral Leadership Academy chose to form Lunch Bunch as a way to serve their school community.
Henson outlined some of the goals Lunch Bunch started with. Goals included to grow relationships, recognize diversity, have conversation while being mindful of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and operate through a partnership with the Beacon.
The partnership with the Beacon ensures there is always an adult in the room and that there is a supportive, safe environment for students.
In forming Lunch Bunch, the academy looked at issues within the school and how they could help their fellow students, publicized Lunch Bunch by distributing flyers and an informational video, and creating a sign-up sheet for interested students to fill out each week. Counselors and other school staff were encouraged to invite students.
“Our motto that we came up with fairly early on was ‘stronger together,’ Henson said. “This applied to both us as Admiral Leadership Academy, a club, and to the student body.”
Initially, the academy set a goal for success of having at least 10 students sign up for five consecutive Lunch Bunch meetings, a goal they have far exceeded.
“The students that attend the lunch that I help host, which is the first lunch period, they’re all really quiet individuals … so we were very excited when they first started coming to Lunch Bunch,” Henson said.
Superintendent Dr. Greg Ross and the board of education members applauded Admiral Leadership Academy’s innovation in forming Lunch Bunch, and for the efforts they’ve made to form support networks.
Chara Blank, a science teacher at DHS who oversees Admiral Leadership Academy, said the students in the club have grown tremendously as leaders over the past year.
“We wanted this academy to teach and to grow leaders in our own school … representative of the same diversity our school shows,” she said.
Initially, some of the students said they did not see leadership skills within themselves, but over time, she has watched them become much more confident and grow as leaders.
“The leadership growth that each person in Leadership Academy has shown over the year has just been amazing, and they’ve had the ability to go on and do different things,” Blank said. “They did go to Eastern Kentucky to do flood cleanup, and that was an amazing opportunity, and they have just stepped up. Those students who came in and said they have no leadership abilities in the beginning are now signing up for things like the Youth Leadership program in the community, and they’re signing up for the state student voice team.”
Blank and Admiral Leadership Academy have sent materials to Lead4Change outlining the Lunch Bunch project and its successes. They hope for the chance to receive grant money to take on new projects and also for more supplies for the Beacon room, for even more successful Lunch Bunch gatherings.
- Danville Independent Schools
- admiral leadership academy
- beacon youth service center
- lunch bunch
- support group